By Gary Suarez
Four years ago, Godsmack appeared unstoppable. Riding high on their third consecutive No. 1 album The Oracle, borne off the success of its lead single, the eyebrow-raising “Cryin’ Like A B—h!!,” the Massachusetts headline act were thriving when so many their peers were floundering. Godsmack held sway; among the last men standing who played the kind of rock ’n’ roll that actually rocked.
Their survival and resiliency in the face of changing public tastes and the hyper-segmentation afforded by the Internet isn’t all that surprising. In both their music and their public image, Godsmack exude an unabashed American toughness, which nowadays seems largely absent on the modern rock charts. But every band has their physical and psychological limits. “When you’re in it, you don’t realize what kind of damage you’re doing,” frontman Sully Erna admits. “Sometimes you get to a breaking point.”
“[The road] is a scary place to be sometimes. You get so desensitized.” Fatigued by virtually ceaseless touring and some creative infighting, Godsmack announced a hiatus late in 2012. Despite the inherent promise of that word, Erna had doubts the band would ever come out of it. “It was a question of whether or not we were going to be a band anymore. I certainly had those thoughts running through my mind of whether or not I wanted to continue to do this.” The time off allowed him to focus on his home life and creative endeavors outside of Godsmack, but eventually the guys began to reconnect socially, leading them back into the studio to lay down their sixth studio album.
1000hp, the end result of those sessions, picks up right where they left off. “In hindsight, we just needed a break,” Erna says. “We’re stronger than ever now.” Muscle-bound tracks like “Locked & Loaded” and “I Don’t Belong” proudly display the heavy hallmarks of Godsmack’s discography. Yet longtime fans might be surprised by what Erna describes as “artistic songs” with “more epic” lengths. Not to suggest that the band’s gone soft, but “Generation Day” harkens back to the spirit of the ‘90s when groups like Alice In Chains and Guns N’ Roses had major chart successes with twisty, flowing rock ballads.
Photo courtesy of Universal